During the past 20 years, USF has been very successful in improving its academic and research portfolio, vaulting it to the fastest-rising university in the country. However, while the university has been successful in growing its research programs over the past two decades, reaching the level of the AAU will require USF to support the architecture of academic excellence by improving its underlying academic infrastructure.
The USF Libraries, and USF Information Technology (IT), focus on providing the support infrastructure for these expanding academic and research initiatives. The Libraries, IT, Office of Decision Support, and Innovative Education must be increasingly incorporated into the pursuit of the university’s aspirations—indeed, they are an existential necessity for a contemporary, competitive research university. Operationally, this requires modernizing our Libraries’ infrastructure and human resources, finance, student information systems, and faculty information systems.
Moreover, myriad operational efficiencies may be found across the university by further examining where we can leverage technology to advance faculty and student success, automate and streamline processes, and engage in a robust process of information governance.
Beyond these pragmatic shifts, USF has an opportunity to take more strategic advantage of its business intelligence and analytics by enhancing the partnerships through a more intentional internal collaboration between IT, Libraries, Office of Decision Support, Innovative Education, and the Office of Resource Management & Analysis, focused on the continued development of comprehensive application of analytics and implementation of a program of information governance is necessary to advance the university’s commitment to accountability and evidence-based decision making, while maintaining the highest standards of reporting. Moreover, by combining our institutional research with external information—namely, competitive intelligence and market analyses—USF can establish a more proactive posture relative to strategic decision-making.
To deepen the support for USF’s mission, the Libraries layer service innovation on top of traditional excellence in knowledge curation. This service-oriented culture helps solidify the infrastructure for research and learning by moving beyond the traditional role of knowledge service provider and engaging in the entire lifecycle and activity range of knowledge creation.
The Libraries undergird all aspects of the university and provide crucial support to individual and institutional projects, aspirations, and goals. Whether through physical collections, electronic collections, data management and metadata support, support for textbook affordability, data literacy, research support, data visualizations, or statistical analyses, the Libraries are foundational to USF’s strategic areas of focus.
By utilizing the USF Libraries’ enhanced service model employing crosscutting Research
Innovation Teams, faculty and students will be provided with expertise in library
and information science and deep subject area proficiency. Those teams partner with
faculty on digital scholarship initiatives, collection creation, bibliometrics, and
altmetrics to assist faculty members’ impact management and support their tenure and
promotion, intellectual property, and copyright expertise. Research Innovation Teams
also connect faculty and
students with professionals possessing functional expertise in areas such as data management, GIS services, statistical analysis, writing and publication support, and possess the academic preparation and subject-matter expertise needed to teach credit-bearing courses, supervise interns, and engage actively in departmental research to obtain external funding.
While IT already provides operational support to our employees and technology support for delivering the university’s educational mission, this central unit possesses both infrastructure and subject matter expertise increasingly utilized to support research and scholarship. There are three key ways to realize this:
Provide IT with resources to directly support faculty and other researchers with training and help take advantage of artificial intelligence and machine learning, analytical tools, high-performance computing infrastructure, and other data science resources, rather than leaving faculty to learn about and utilize these resources their own.
Work with faculty to incorporate IT resources and personnel into research proposals and projects. These direct costs would help offset IT expenses and provide additional resources to invest in USF’s computing, data visualization, and related “big data” capabilities.
Recognizing that companies increasingly prefer to license data instead of patents or other forms of intellectual property, IT can become an internal partner to help build and maintain clean, accurate, and unique datasets that would confer a competitive advantage in proposals while helping to attract new faculty and graduate students.
USF Innovative Education (InEd) is reimagining the future of higher education. Strategically positioned at the intersection of education and technology, InEd works with partners across the university to develop and implement change designed to support learning at all levels and throughout a lifetime. In partnership with colleagues across the enterprise, the division designs and develops innovative programs to attract new students, generate new revenue streams, and extend USF’s reach while strengthening the university brand.
InEd leverages innovative educational technology to transform our teaching and pedagogy
in order to meet changing student expectations for a more interactive delivery and
to create an inclusive and diverse culture. We create flexible, academically rigorous
online offerings for our students working to improve retention, persistence, and time
to degree. Focusing on student success, the division has created a lifetime affinity
model that keeps our students engaged long after graduation. We offer continuous professional
that students have better opportunities for upward mobility.
Innovative Education works to foster community engagement, professional development,
and opportunities for lifelong learning to the Tampa Bay community and workforce.
We partner with corporate leaders to develop professional development training for
their teams and offer working professionals the opportunity to network and connect
with mentors and peers in their respective industries. Serving as an engine for innovation
and economic growth, Innovative Education promotes the lifelong success of well-educated, highly skilled, and adaptable workforce who thrive in a dynamic global market, lead enriched lives, and engage in their communities.
Office of Decision Support (ODS)
The mission of the Office of Decision Support (ODS) is to facilitate leadership decision-making by providing data, analysis, business solutions, and reporting for USF and to coordinate academic planning, reporting, and related needs for USF. ODS supports the University by ensuring competitive performance and institutional accreditation.
ODS serves as a central support office to the university by providing the following:
- Valid, reliable, and actionable analyses to support decision-making;
- Serves as the official data and reporting source for student and faculty data;
- Promotes sound assessment practices across all academic programs and support units;
- Oversight of program planning and review, and quality improvement initiatives;
- Provides student and faculty data, analytics, and modeling for units campus-wide;
- Coordinates with the state governing body, external reporting, and accrediting agencies.